[MD] Pirsig's Honorary Doctorate
valkyr at att.net
Sat Dec 29 11:45:01 PST 2012
If the subject is skepticism, perhaps this might add something to the discussion:
First broadcast: Thursday 05 July 2012
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Scepticism, the idea that it may be impossible to know anything with complete certainty. Scepticism was first outlined by ancient Greek philosophers: Socrates is reported to have said that the only thing he knew for certain was that he knew nothing. Later, Scepticism was taught at the Academy founded by Plato, and learnt by students who included the Roman statesman Cicero. The central ideas of Scepticism were taken up by later philosophers and came to the fore during the Renaissance, when thinkers including Rene Descartes and Michel de Montaigne took up its challenge. A central plank of the philosophical system of David Hume, Scepticism had a powerful influence on the religious and scientific debates of the Enlightenment.
Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, Oxford
Professor of Politics at Princeton University
Professor of the History of Renaissance Philosophy and Librarian at the Warburg Institute, University of London.
On Dec 29, 2012, at 5:43 AM, X wrote:
> Nice article a really nice look at the aim of skepticism.
> Thanks well written. I have mre to say when I can get
> To a proper keyboard.
> david buchanan <dmbuchanan at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> "...Like most Nietzsche scholars, Berry rejects the popular idea that Nietzsche's remarks on "perspectivism" mark him as a radical relativist. She acknowledges Nietzsche's documented admiration of the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, but denies that it means that Nietzsche 'endorsed an ontological doctrine of radical flux.' First, that doctrine seems to imply that "to the extent that they represent the world as having some stability, all our beliefs are nothing but hopeless distortions. There is no truth. Knowledge is impossible. All we have are 'mere' interpretations or our own idiosyncratic 'perspectives' on the world, and there can be no way to ground a preference for one over any other." And that, she rightly says, is nuts: nuts on its own terms, and nuts as a reading of Nietzsche, who seems very concerned indeed that we believe this and not that – which makes no sense if beliefs are necessarily distorted and truth a fantasy. Indeed, on this view "there is exactly one rejoinder to any claim whatsoever: we just imagine Jeff Bridges as The Dude muttering 'Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.'" -- Dave Maier at 3 Quarks Daily
>> Check out the full article. http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2012/12/nietzschean-perspectivism-again-with-a-skeptical-twist.html#comments
>>> Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2012 08:17:02 -0800
>>> From: xacto at rocketmail.com
>>> To: moq_discuss at moqtalk.org
>>> Subject: Re: [MD] Pirsig's Honorary Doctorate
>>> I was really struck this week by the deep contrasts in posts regarding the nature of Quality.
>>> While some here would argue that Quality has no nature at all and that the idea of
>>> "not this, not that" has more clarity and precision in meaning than the idea "undefined betterness",
>>> I would ask that we explore the consequences of these two deeply contrasting conceptions
>>> of just what the overall aim of our metaphysics indeed IS.
>>> This week David Buchanan posted a commencement speech in which the speaker invoked what
>>> he saw as the overall aim of Pirsigs metaphysic:
>>> "We need to get the ceremony or the ritual correct. We need to get the rite right, right? in order for it to do its work of creating what is memorable and what is best. And now we are in the shadow of quality---to the Greeks “arete”----what is excellent, a ritual well performed or, most simply, what is well done. "
>>> -Commencement Talk 2012-- by Regent Professor Michael Sexson (He was also the Master of Ceremonies for MSU's Chautauqua 2012).
>>> “The Right Rite”
>>> Which would seem to coincide with the ancient greek conception that "the good" is best pursued
>>> via knowledge, as Aristotle writes:
>>> "Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is
>>> thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly
>>> been declared to be that at which all things aim."
>>> This , as it would seem, is our "undefined betterness" some good at which
>>> all things aim. But it would seem that Art, to the ancient greeks would hold
>>> a high place in this aim because art aims with both act and product at the good and as
>>> Regent Professor Michael Sexson would add what is most worthy of remembering.
>>> Contrasting this aim is the concept of "not this not that" which is most traditionally
>>> a reactionary response to physicalism or objectivism where one believes that
>>> quality lies within the objects of perception, but to apply this to our metaphysic
>>> as our overall aim results in consequences so contrary and counter to the aim
>>> of excellence and virtue that the results are the kind of nihlism and relativism
>>> that our culture currently suffers from, that "value-less" state of not caring
>>> for or against anything what so ever that inspired Robert Pirsig to write to
>>> begin with.
>>> I believe, to suppose "not this, not that" is the true aim of Robert Pirsigs
>>> metaphysic, is to profoundly misunderstand both the aim of Robert Pirsigs
>>> work and the aim of Zen and the resulting consequences are so dire as to
>>> be polar opposite to Proffessor Sextons' statement regarding what RMP
>>> would say:
>>> "If Robert Pirsig were here today, he probably would not advise the class of 2012 to conquer worlds, acquire possessions, achieve status. That’s not what these books, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila, are about. He would probably say what the woman watering her plants said to him, “Are you pursuing quality,”
>>> I dont think Robert Pirsig meant "are you pursuing nothing"
>>> are you pursuing valueless-ness? are you pursuing meaningless-ness?
>>> are you pursuing no-thing what so ever? are you pursuing no-mind?
>>> That would make for a rather poor graduation speech where words of
>>> wisdom are usually sought, rather:
>>> Are you pursuing better-ness? are you pursuing excellence?
>>> "Do not think about what is new but what is best"
>>> Wise words.
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